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Top Questions: M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Top Questions about the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies degree

According to the Education Commission of the States, primary and secondary school principals play a critical role in student achievement, and their influence on education outcomes is second only to the teacher in the classroom. Great principals know their schools well, and they understand how to create a supportive and effective learning environments for students. They are also skilled listeners, evaluators and mentors, encouraging the educators they supervise to continue learning and improving the schools they serve.

Master's in educational leadership degrees, such as the Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (M.Ed. – ELPS) degree, prepare students for principal certification, and to assume other key roles in school leadership. Many graduates of educational leadership programs begin their school administration careers as assistant principals, but the degree is also appropriate for educators with different goals. This degree can also prepare you for leadership opportunities with school districts, state and federal education agencies, educational nonprofits and K-12 education companies.

The links below offer an in-depth look at this master's degree in education. You'll find answers to some of the most common questions students ask about the degree, and how you can earn it online.

About the Degree

Principal Licensure & State Certification

Career & Salary

Tuition & Financial Aid

Military Support

Time Requirements

Online Learning

What Is a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies?

Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies is a graduate degree for teachers and other education professionals who want to move into school leadership

The Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies is a graduate degree for teachers and other education professionals who want to move into school leadership. The curriculum is designed to prepare educators for the range of responsibilities they will have as a working principal. The program also readies students for state certification and licensure. Coursework helps students develop a thorough understanding of education systems and strategic planning for individual schools.

Master's programs that prepare students for principal certification go by other names as well, such as the M.Ed. in School Administration or Educational Administration. The M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies is unique because it also focuses on the big picture of school governance, including legal and political issues that influence decision-making about education at the local, state and national levels.

How Can Teachers Benefit From a Degree in School Leadership?

prepare for certification as a K-12 principal with a master's degree

While many teachers earn their M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies to prepare for certification as a K-12 principal, this degree offers additional career benefits. Teachers who understand leadership theory and best practices, education policy, school finance and operations, and other key areas of administration can take on roles that call for experience in both instruction and management.

Teachers who hold this type of M.Ed. are better prepared for leadership positions beyond their local school as well. They can serve on school boards or state education task forces, and even collaborate with lawmakers on education policy.

An advanced degree can also benefit teachers who wish to stay in the classroom, as it often makes them eligible for a pay raise. The University of Texas at Arlington offers this educational leadership degree online, making it more attainable for working teachers.

 Diana Foster, 2015 graduate of UTA's M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies program and Assistant Principal in Keller, Texas
For someone like me who was a little bit older when I started and starting a family, [an online degree is] just absolutely the perfect way to do it. You have a lot of people who are my age and think, 'I would like to go back to school, but I can't.' This is a way that's absolutely doable. It's a way you can do it on your own time, with your own mindset, with your own goals in place.

What Will I Learn In an Online M.Ed. Program in Educational Leadership?

An online graduate degree in educational leadership will help you build on your professional knowledge as you gain direct experience as a school leader. You will learn the theory and practice of school administration, including strategies for increasing student achievement, developing effective instruction methods, budgeting and resource management, and meeting operational goals. You will also learn how to supervise people and processes as well as the importance of administrative oversight.

As a teacher, we see only so much in the education system. When you get your master's, it opens you up to a whole new world of education.

Learn more about our M.Ed. in Educational Leadership online program!

What Kinds of Classes Do M.Ed. in Educational Leadership Students Take Online?

Coursework in an online M.Ed. program in educational leadership defines the role and responsibilities of a principal and orients students to the complex landscape of school administration. It also highlights the potential each principal has to effect positive change in his or her school, while showing the impact that governance issues can have on students and their families.

10-course sequence that addresses the wide scope of a principal's work as well as the ideas and innovations that are shaping modern school leadership

UTA's online Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program features an intensive 10-course sequence that addresses the wide scope of a principal's work as well as the ideas and innovations that are shaping modern school leadership. Courses are designed to build each student's knowledge and competency in the areas of:

  • Leadership theory and effective leadership practices
  • School organization and administration
  • School finance and resource management
  • Performance evaluation and management in instructional settings
  • Curriculum design, implementation and evaluation
  • Quantitative and qualitative educational research
  • Best practices in continuous school improvement
  • Demography, diversity and culture
  • Political theory and practice in school governance
  • Legal aspects of K-12 administration

To meet field experience requirements for principal certification, UTA students complete an administrative practicum and a capstone internship course. For more information, visit the courses section of the online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program site.

"There is a consistency with the courses that carried over. I really liked that there was a reflection piece at the end of almost every course. That was huge because, at the time, I was serving as an analyst, so the things I was seeing on campus I was able to directly apply [to] the courses." – Jose L., 2016 graduate of UTA's M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies program

Becky Rose, 2014 graduate of UTA's Master of Education – ELPS program
Little bits of my master's program appear in all of my tasks every day. Leadership Theory — day-to-day interaction leading teachers. Diversity in Educational Settings — experiences with parents from all walks of life and their various perspectives. Curriculum Design and Implementation — understanding curriculum strands and having that baseline for data talks. Political and Legal Aspects — understanding the laws as they pertain to education. Capstone Practicum — where the rubber meets the road, seeing real life application of theory.

How Much Work Experience Do I Need Before I Apply to Educational Leadership M.Ed. Programs?

Most M.Ed. programs require applicants to have at least two years of relevant work experience in K-12 education. Whatever your work experience, keep in mind that graduate programs will usually request some form of documentation, such as your teaching certificate or other education credential, school service records, or a letter from your employer.

Does It Matter If My Experience Is With a Private or Charter School?

If you're a certified teacher, your experience counts in the master's program

Working in private and charter schools can be excellent training for principals, and if you are a certified teacher or another type of licensed educator, you should not have a problem documenting your work experience as part of your graduate program application.

Things can be a bit more complicated for educators hired to work with students as a non-credentialed teacher or instructor.

If your basic qualification for teaching is only your degree and professional skills, you can still apply to a graduate degree program in educational leadership and earn the degree. However, you may have to get the appropriate instructional credential for your job duties before you can pursue principal certification. Consult the M.Ed. programs you are interested in for further guidance on admissions and the work experience requirement.

Do I Need a Teaching Credential or Work Experience in the Same State as My Graduate School?

No, you just need to be able to provide documentation of each. Online graduate programs that are authorized to work with out-of-state students are likely to accept any state teaching credential or educational work experience that proves you meet their admissions criteria.

What Else Will I Need to Get Admitted to a Master's Program in Educational Leadership?

UTA admissions requirements for the master's in educational leadership program

Each school has its own criteria for evaluating applicants. However, every program featuring principal certification will require a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, official transcripts, and work experience in education. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better is generally expected as well, and M.Ed. programs may also request letters of reference, a personal essay, GRE scores, or copies of school district service records, among other application materials.

UTA's M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program is competitive, and applicants must have two years of relevant work experience and a 3.0 GPA (either cumulative or in the last 60 hours of the undergraduate degree). They must also submit a brief personal statement and two letters of reference, preferably from previous supervisors. Applicants may meet the GPA requirement with a 3.0 average in previous graduate study as well, specifically in the last nine hours of coursework.

You can begin the application process for the UTA program now.

How Important Is School Accreditation for M.Ed. Programs in Educational Leadership?

UTA's Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) accreditation

UTA's College of Education is accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP). UTA's M.Ed in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies is also accredited by the Texas Education Agency.

Very important. Accreditation helps ensure that schools and their academic programs are educating students based on current professional standards, and that faculty are qualified to do so. Because accreditation also entails a thorough review of finances, facilities, technology, program graduation rates and other key success indicators, your degree from an accredited school will hold its value. Accreditation is also required before schools and their students can participate in federal and state financial aid programs.

Do I Have to Be a Teacher to Become a Principal?

It depends on the state where you want to work as a principal. Since a number of states require that principals have a teaching certificate and several years of experience, some M.Ed. programs do focus exclusively on training licensed teachers for principal certification. However, many M.Ed. programs in educational leadership accept applicants with different professional credentials and experience, too.

Great principals can come from a variety of backgrounds, and their ranks include guidance counselors, school psychologists, curriculum specialists, librarians and other certified education professionals who want to serve as school leaders.

In Maine, for example, professionals with a master's degree and non-certified teaching experience in higher education, the military, or private industry can also work as principals — after completing a graduate-level training and certification program, among a few other requirements.

Learn more about our M.Ed. in Educational Leadership online program!

Which States Hire Principals Who Are Not Certified Teachers?

Here are some of the states where you don't have to be a certified classroom teacher to become a principal:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Virginia
some of the states where you don't have to be a certified classroom teacher to become a principal

Licensure requirements for principal certification are subject to change, however, so be sure to check with the primary education agency in your state for the most up-to-date information.

What Are the Basic Requirements for Principal Licensure and State Certification?

Some of the requirements to become a principal in Texas

Principal licensure and certification requirements are generally set by state legislatures and administered by state education agencies. The certification process can sometimes be difficult for students in M.Ed. programs to understand, simply because there is such a wide variance in standards across the nation.

Here are the basic principal certification requirements that many states have in common:

  • Ed. or Ed.S. degree (some states accept other graduate degrees as well)
  • Completion of a board-certified school leadership degree or certificate program
  • Completion of a supervised internship or practicum in school administration (the field experience requirement)
  • 3-5 years of experience as a licensed and certified education professional, working with students in the classroom or providing other forms of direct learning support
  • A passing score on the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA) administered by the nonprofit Educational Testing Service and/or a state-level certification exam for K-12 administrators

How Many States Require the SLLA Exam?

A passing score on the SLLA exam is required for principal certification in 21 states, including Virginia, South Dakota, Louisiana, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

States may sometimes adjust their passing SLLA score, so be sure to check with your state for the latest information. You can also review the SLLA Study Companion to learn more about this school leader assessment tool.

What Is the Field Experience Requirement?

Some states require that principal certification applicants complete a period of administrative work experience as they prepare for licensure. State guidelines may also refer to this as a practicum or an internship. Regardless, the field work must take place in a school environment and be supervised by a qualified education professional.

Will I Do the Field Experience in My Home State or the State Where My School Is Located?

Field experience often required as part of an educational leadership degree program

Because of the different licensing requirements for principals across the nation, the field experience hours for your initial principal certification should be done in the state where you plan to work after graduation.

If your M.Ed. degree program is located in a different state than the one where you live or one where you don't plan to work as a principal, there is no reason to complete your field work in that state.

Visit UTA's Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies for more information about the field experience process and requirements for out-of-state students in the online M.Ed. program.

How Many Field Experience Hours Are Required?

Texas requires a minimum of 160 clock hours for professional certification.

The number of field experience hours is determined by each state based on its principal certification requirements. New Mexico requires 180 hours, for example, while in Nebraska, it's 250. New Jersey, Rhode Island and Virginia all require 300 hours or more.

Texas requires a minimum of 160 clock hours for professional certification. Contact your state education agency for further information.

Can I Do My Field Experience Hours at My Current School Campus?

In most cases, you can. Just check with both your M.Ed. program and your state licensing board to ensure that all aspects of the field work you plan to do will meet their requirements.

 Sarah Critton, 2014 graduate of UTA's M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies online program
I felt like doing the internship, which I was able to do at the school that I am at, helped a lot. With the online program, you are with the other people in your group, getting to hear their experiences and having people in your same stage was really helpful.

How Can I Find the Principal Licensure and Certification Requirements for My State?

Principal Licensure and Certification Requirements

To learn more about principal licensure and certification requirements in your area of the country, check out the handy 50-state comparison chart compiled by the Education Commission for the States. Because standards do change, you should verify current requirements with your state educator licensing agency.

Before applying to the online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program at UTA, prospective students should also review the program's curriculum to ensure it meets principal licensure and certification standards for their state. Students who live outside of Texas and complete their field experience hours outside of the state will not qualify for principal certification in Texas.

What Is the Career Outlook for M.Ed. in Educational Leadership Graduates?

Burning Glass Technologies' Labor Insight job market data for 2018-19 shows a major need for K-12 school administrators across America. Principals and assistant principals remain the most sought-after school leaders, and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts steady growth of 8 percent for this occupation through 2026. Increased student enrollment may also drive demand for principals and assistant principals during this period according to BLS — especially in states with a growing population.

 Diana Foster, 2015 graduate of UTA's M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies program and Assistant Principal in Keller, Texas
I was in a teaching position. I was watching my principal and assistant principal and liked what they were doing, and I wanted to be a part of that.

Which States Have the Highest Demand for Assistant Principals and Principals?

Texas and California have high demand for elementary and secondary school administrators

Labor Insight data reveals that recruiting for elementary and secondary school administrators was highest in California and Texas during 2018. The demand in those states was up to seven times higher than in other high-population states such as Florida and Pennsylvania, and this trend continues in 2019.

The latest figures from BLS show that states with smaller populations such as Vermont, Connecticut and Maine have a high concentration of jobs in school leadership as well. For example, the demand for educational administrators is currently 70 percent higher than the national average in Maine and a staggering 320 percent higher in Vermont.

High demand presents an abundance of opportunities for M.Ed. graduates seeking their first school leadership role, as well as assistant principals who are ready to move into the principal's seat. Demand is also higher than the national average in the following states.

States with higher-than-average demand for school leaders

Rhode Island 160% higher
New Mexico 110% higher
Colorado 110% higher
Arizona 60% higher
Idaho 30% higher

*Source: Burning Glass Technologies' Labor Insight data, 2019

Which Cities Have Good Career Opportunities for Assistant Principals and Principals?

According to the latest BLS data, the following metro areas have some of the highest employment levels for elementary and secondary school administrators in the country:

  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land (Texas)
  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell (Georgia)
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale (California)
  • Mesa-Phoenix-Scottsdale (Arizona)
  • Dallas-Plano-Irving (Texas)

If you are interested in working outside of a large metro area, BLS also indicates that these smaller cities have a high concentration of school leadership jobs:

  • Sumter, South Carolina
  • Monroe, Michigan
  • Waterbury, Connecticut
  • Yuba City, California
  • Springfield, Ohio
  • McAllen, Edinburg, and Laredo, Texas

According to the leadership development organization Teach Plus, school systems in California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Indiana, Hawaii and other states are also expanding school leadership opportunities for teachers by creating new administrative positions, school leadership career ladders and fellowship opportunities.

Assistant Principal Jobs vs. Vice Principal Jobs: What's the Difference?

There is essentially no difference. Educators with either job title will have equivalent knowledge, duties and qualifications. The term vice principal was once more common, but most schools and school districts now use the term assistant principal.

Can Classroom Teachers Make More Money With a Master's in Educational Leadership?

Classroom teachers can make more money with a master's degree

Many classroom teachers who hold an M.Ed. degree in educational leadership do make more than their colleagues with a bachelor's degree, especially in states where the law provides teachers better compensation for completing graduate work. Teachers in those states may be eligible for a new and higher salary scale. Private schools, which are not bound by the same state polices and restrictions on teacher pay, often have even more flexibility to reward M.Ed. teachers with a nice salary bump.

The National Council on Teacher Quality notes that many schools are also finding creative ways to compensate classroom teachers who have earned advanced degrees, including tuition reimbursement and additional years of teaching credit.

What Do Principal Jobs Pay?

According to the latest national compensation data from BLS, elementary, middle and high school principals make an average of $94,390 per year. Compensation can include more than base salary, however, and the pay structure for your position will often depend on your school assignment. Many districts take into account a school's student profile and academic performance as well as the size of its student body and other factors.

How Much Do Principal and Assistant Principal Salaries Vary By State?

Principal salaries can differ substantially from one state to the next, and even between cities in the same state. For instance, in states that have few large cities or states with large rural populations, school administrator pay tends to be highest in their major population centers.

The following examples of assistant principal salaries in different parts of the country illustrate how pay rates can differ by large or small amounts depending on where you live.

State Cities Average Base Pay,
Assistant Principals
California Los Angeles $96,963
San Diego $78,765


Houston $86,150
Amarillo $66,679


Anchorage $80,919
Kodiak $70,354
Florida Miami $77,272
Jacksonville $70,334
Ohio Cincinnati $75,858
Columbus $71,133
Arizona Phoenix $71,810
Prescott $67,972
New Jersey Trenton $79,480
Ocean City $70,575
Nebraska Omaha $69,586
Lincoln $67,176

Source: Glassdoor, May 2017-March 2019

What Else Can I Do With the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership?

Leadership is certainly not limited to the role of principal. Many graduates with the M.Ed. degree in educational leadership go on to manage people, teams and important projects inside and outside of their local schools. They work in the areas of curriculum and instructional design, research and data analysis, and other educational capacities. They may also work at school districts and state education agencies.

M.Ed. graduates are also qualified to teach at the college level, working with the next generation of educators.

If you're as committed to education as Ty G. Jones, one of the busiest UTA M.Ed. graduates around, you might even run for mayor.

Spotlight: Ty G. Jones

UTA online educational leadership graduate Ty G. Jones

Ty G. Jones was already a leader working in two different Texas school districts when he decided to go back to college for his online Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at UTA. He was Lancaster ISD's District 5 trustee and School Board President as well as Coordinator of Instructional Management Systems for Grand Prairie ISD. He simply believes that educators should never stop learning.

"As a teacher, you only look at certain things; as an administrator, you look at it a little more globally. From a board perspective, you have to look at all spectrums," he advises. Jones says that earning the M.Ed. opened up his perspective and gave him "a lot more options as it relates to addressing some of the educational needs within my district, state and nation." Jones graduated from UTA in 2014, and he got so inspired to do more for his community that he ran for mayor of Lancaster, Texas in 2018.

How Much Does an Online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership Cost?

The average cost of an online M.Ed. degree in educational leadership is about $19,517

The average cost of an online M.Ed. degree in educational leadership is about $19,517. The actual cost of your degree will depend on the length of your program, however, and the number of credit hours your school requires.

Most M.Ed. programs in school leadership and administration can be completed in 30-39 credit hours, but a high per-credit cost can also push the total tuition rate into less affordable territory. Some schools charge as much $734-$1,243 per credit hour, making M.Ed. programs in the $28,000-$35,000 price range pretty common, too.

By contrast, UTA's online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies offers students a high quality education at a very reasonable rate. Students pay only $8,200 in total tuition, at a cost of $273.33 per credit hour.

Is There Such a Thing as Out-of-state Tuition for Online Degrees?

No out-of-state tuition at UTA for online programs

Yes, it does exist, but most schools don't charge out-of-state online students more than in-state students. If you don't find clear tuition rates and residency polices listed on the website of any graduate program in educational leadership that you're considering, contact the program staff directly for clarification.

At UTA all online students, regardless of residency, pay the same tuition.

What Are My Chances of Getting Financial Aid for My M.Ed. Degree Online?

Online degrees are treated no differently than on-campus degrees for financial aid purposes, as long as the school is accredited. Many online graduate students who apply for aid do get grants, loans or scholarships to help with the cost of school.

Your chance of receiving aid often depends on your income and the full cost of your graduate program — two of the key factors that determine your eligibility for federal and state student aid programs.

Will My School District Pay for Me to Get My M.Ed. in Educational Leadership?

While the practice isn't standard, some school districts do offer assistance with tuition to encourage teachers and other instructional support personnel to advance their education. Some employers limit programs like tuition reimbursement to degrees that benefit educators in the positions they currently hold and others focus on growing their leadership ranks from within.

Can I Use My Military Education Benefits for a Graduate Degree?

Use military tuition assistance for accredited programs

Yes, you can. As long the school you are attending is accredited, you should be able to apply any education benefits you have earned through your military service to your M.Ed. or other graduate degree in education.

If you find that your benefit amount does not cover the cost of your degree, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs partners with colleges and universities to provide GI Bill gap coverage through the Yellow Ribbon Program and other forms of tuition assistance. Visit UTA's Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to learn more.

Do Online Degree Programs Offer Support for Service Members Who Want to Become a Principal?

transition from leading troops to leading schools

Yes, most schools offering online graduate degree programs in education provide special services for American military personnel, including career counseling that can help you make the transition from leading troops to leading schools.

UTA veteran services offers a broad range assistance for service members, including career development resources, mentoring and peer-to-peer support. If you are pursuing principal certification, making connections with M.Ed. graduates who have gone on to become school leaders can also be valuable. The extensive UTA alumni network is another great resource for networking with military peers who have walked the path you are on.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Master of Education in Educational Leadership?

Master's in education leadership degrees take two years to finish on average, but online students can often complete the degree faster. UTA's online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies is an accelerated degree program featuring 10 intensive courses, which allows students to finish in as few as 16 months.

Can I Get My M.Ed. Degree While Teaching or Working Full Time?

Yes, and most educators do. Online M.Ed. programs in educational leadership are designed for working professionals who don't want to put their lives or careers on hold in order to go back to school. Courses are available to students 24/7, and online professors understand the day-to-day challenges that working educators must overcome as they progress through the program.

Blending coursework into your daily routine is much easier when you don't have to go to campus several times a week or leave work to meet with a professor during limited office hours. Many students have found that online learning is not only more flexible, it makes getting their M.Ed. possible.

"I liked the fact that the program was so versatile. That was key. I had a full-time job, so being 100 percent online was huge." – Jose L., 2016 graduate of UTA's online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies program

 Becky Rose, 2014 graduate of UTA's online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies program
UTA's program provides the knowledge you need and the flexibility our busy lives require.

Will I Still Have Time for My Kids and Family?

Earning your degree does require a commitment to studying, but it doesn't have to drastically change your family life in the process. Where and when you study is your choice, and each student manages the process a little bit differently.

Whether you prefer to focus on school on weekends, grab study time here and there as you go through the week, or make a study schedule that hangs on the refrigerator alongside your kids' activity calendar, you can make it work. Thousands of moms and dads do it every year. In fact, you're likely to find that many of your classmates in your online M.Ed. program are parents — also balancing work, school and family life just like you.

"Considering I had just given birth to my twins, I was hard at work as a teacher, doing tutoring and extracurricular activities, it would have been difficult to make it to class at a local university… [At UTA] I'd get online, check out my classes, be part of the discussion board, take whatever test or do whatever assignment I had to." – Elizabeth Alaniz, 2011 graduate of UTA's online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program

My first baby was born six weeks before I graduated. I had to finish my last class with an infant. I was able to manage it all. I had some very helpful professors who I was able to tell, 'Hey, I'm going to be having a child. I don't want to not be able to work on this project.' They were very wonderful about giving me the project ahead of time so I could prepare in advance to work on it.
 Diana Foster, 2015 graduate of UTA's M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies program and Assistant Principal in Keller, Texas

How Much Study Time Will I Need Each Week for Online Graduate Courses?

Much depends on you and the content and workload of the course you are taking. If you budget 4-6 hours per week for each M.Ed. course in educational leadership to start, you'll probably have plenty of time to review all readings and lectures as well as complete any assignments or projects due.

Complex material may require more study time and easier material may require less, but after you've completed a few courses, you will get a feel for the amount that works best.

"When the weekends came around, that was when I had the opportunity to knock [assignments] out. I did the reading during the week, but I did the actual work on the weekend." – Jose L., 2016 graduate of UTA's Master of Education – ELPS online program

 Sarah Critton, 2014 graduate of UTA's M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies online program
I had a three-year-old, I was pregnant and I was working full time. Everything was due on Sundays, so I was able to spread it out to the days that worked for me, which I liked.

Are Online Courses Just Like Regular Courses?

Online courses are similar to typical on-campus courses

The structure of your online course will be very much the same as a typical course on campus. You will have a professor to teach you, grade your work, and provide guidance as needed. Every course has a syllabus, course calendar, required textbook, assignment guidelines and deadlines, and usually a final project.

If you are familiar with using online content to complement your on-campus courses — like posting on a discussion board or watching a video that goes with the reading assignment — you won't have a problem completing courses that are fully online.

How Often Do Online Professors Communicate With Students?

The main thing some students have difficulty getting used to with online courses is that your classes are not on a set schedule, where you regularly expect to see and interact with the professor. However, you can email your instructor at any point or schedule meeting time via video chat and other means. Just because you are more independent online doesn't mean that you can't work with your professors when you need to. You'll find they are ready and willing to help.

The teachers are wonderful, and each time I had a question or concern, they responded promptly, so I loved [UTA].

Do M.Ed. Programs Have Online Support If I Need Help With My Writing or Research?

UTA online students can use the library and writing center

Yes, many M.Ed. programs do have support services available to online graduate students who need assistance with writing or research. Just check with the schools you are interested in for more information about the type of resources they offer.

All students enrolled at UTA can take advantage of the UTA library and the UTA Writing Center, which offer academic support and one-on-one assistance online.

Will I Need a New Computer to Do the M.Ed. Program in Educational Leadership Online?

It depends on your system and what it can handle, but most students do not need to invest in a new computer. If your operating system is fairly up-to-date and you can stream video, chat online, use word processing and presentation software, make spreadsheets, use email and surf the internet, you're already in a good position to start an online master's degree program.

Check with your graduate school for any special guidelines or requirements they may have.

Will I Be Able to Get Tech Support If I Need Help With My Online Courses?

Yes, most schools have good technical assistance for online students, whether you need help accessing your course, using specific aspects of it, or making sure your computer is set up properly for online study. Students in UTA's M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies also have access to great tech support resources online, including a live help desk.

"I looked at the course work. I looked at how long it was going to take to me to get it done. I looked at cost. I weighed all of the different factors. The biggest factor was it was the UT system... I was part of the first cohort group with UTA for the master's program. They made it accessible for me." – Elizabeth Alaniz, M.Ed, 2011 graduate of UTA's online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies program

"The program was excellent… I would recommend it to anybody." – Edward Woolcock, 2012 graduate of UTA's online Master of Education – ELPS program

"Receiving my master's is my proudest achievement, UTA holds a very special place in my heart." – Becky Rose, online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies graduate

Learn more about our M.Ed. in Educational Leadership online program!


Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP)

Education Commission of the States:
50-State Comparison, School Leader Certification and Preparation Programs
What Are the Initial School Leader Certification Requirements?

Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Online
Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Online: Courses
Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Online: Admissions
Veteran's Services
Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
UTA library
UTA Writing Center
UTA Alumni Association
Technology Support

Texas Education Agency

Educational Testing Service:
The School Leadership Series (SLS)
SLS Study Companion, School Leaders Licensure Assessmen
School Leadership Series Passing Scores

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Occupational Outlook Handbook: Elementary, Middle and High School Principals
Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017: Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School

Teach Plus:
Become a Teacher Leader The Decade-Plus Teaching Career: How to Retain Effective Teachers Through Teacher Leadership

National Council on Teacher Quality:
How Are Districts and States Using Pay to Staff High-need Schools and Subjects?
How Do School Districts Compensate Teachers For Advanced Degrees?

Assistant Principal Salaries in Los Angeles, CA (April 2018)
Assistant Principal Salaries in San Diego, CA (March 2019)
Assistant Principal Salaries in Phoenix, AZ (November 2017)
Assistant Principal Salaries in Prescott, AZ (May 2017)
Assistant Principal Salaries in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (October 2018)
Assistant Principal Salaries in Jacksonville, FL (January 2019)
Assistant Principal Salaries in Trenton, NJ
Assistant Principal Salaries in Ocean City, NJ
Assistant Principal Salaries in Omaha, NE
Assistant Principal Salaries in Lincoln, NE
Assistant Principal Salaries in Houston, TX (January 2019)
Assistant Principal Salaries in Amarillo, TX
Assistant Principal Salaries in Anchorage, AK
Assistant Principal Salaries in Kodiak, AK
Assistant Principal Salaries in Cincinnati, OH (March 2018)
Assistant Principal Salaries in Columbus, OH (September 2018)

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:
About Your GI Bill Benefits
Education and Training: Yellow Ribbon Program